| 15.8°C Dublin

Weather warning as gales on way

MORE strong winds are set to batter the country tonight and tomorrow as the blustery weather that ushered in the festive season is coming roaring back.

While the country was spared ice and snow this Christmas, the mild temperatures caused a "disturbed" weather picture with wind speeds of up to 100kph now being forecast in exposed areas.

Met Eireann issued a weather warning with sustained strong winds right across the country.

The 'wild' weather pattern resulted in power cuts and fallen trees nationwide during the weekend before Christmas, with as many as 1,700 households being left without power along the west coast and in parts of Dublin, Kilkenny and Waterford.

Forecaster Joan Blackburn said: "I'd expect gales and maybe even stronger winds... There'll be strong winds everywhere."

Tomorrow there will be southerly gales throughout the day. But with the strong winds will come relatively high temperatures of 11 to 13C. Most of the rain will fall in the west and the north but the rest of the country will also have showers.

It will be mostly cloudy with occasional rain and drizzle, but some dry intervals mainly in inland parts of the south and east. Heavier rain will spread from the Atlantic later tomorrow.

Overall, Met Eireann warned of "very unsettled" weather for the rest of December and in the first week of the New Year. It will remain wet and windy but relatively mild.

Saturday will be "extremely windy" with a risk of severe and damaging gusts in western and northern coastal areas. There will be further scattered showers overnight and very cold, but it will be too windy for any significant frost.

Sunday is expected to be mainly dry in the morning with just a few scattered showers and breezy. More persistent rain will spread from the southwest in the afternoon and evening, with strong southerly winds.

New Year's Eve will brighten up with sunny spells developing and some scattered showers. And New Year's Day will be cold, bright, with sunny spells and a few scattered showers.